- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 16, 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A roadside bombing killed two U.S. service members in northern Afghanistan on Wednesday, officials said, pushing the death toll among American troops so far this month to 30.

The attack occurred in the Baghi Shirkat area, about 19 miles west of Kunduz city, said Kunduz provincial government spokesman, Muhbobullah Sayedi. The troops were in a vehicle that hit a roadside bomb, he said.

U.S. forces spokesman Lt. Col. Joseph T. Breasseale confirmed the deaths but did not provide further details.

U.S. and Afghan forces conducted an operation early Wednesday in Baghi Shirkat in which 12 militants were killed, including two local Taliban commanders, Mr. Sayedi said.

June is shaping up to be one of the deadliest months for U.S. troops in the nearly 9-year-old Afghan war, as insurgents have stepped up attacks in response to a NATO push into Taliban strongholds in the south.

The deadliest month for U.S. troops in Afghanistan was October 2009, when 59 Americans died, including seven soldiers killed in a single clash near Kandahar and seven who died in a helicopter crash in the northwest not caused by hostile fire.

In the east, meanwhile, three Afghans working for a private security company were killed when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb in Muqar district of Ghazni province, according to the deputy provincial police chief, Nawroz Ali Nawroz.

Nine Pakistani militiamen were apprehended before dawn Wednesday inside Afghan territory in Kunar province, provincial Police Chief Khalilullah Ziaye said.

The Pakistanis said they fled into Afghanistan to escape attacks by the Pakistani Taliban against four of their checkpoints, Ziaye said. The nine remained in custody Wednesday pending an investigation, he said.

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